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Hotels that respond to reviews see an increase in overall review ratings and booking inquiries. The benefits are well documented, and yet hoteliers still are not responding.

PARSIPPANY, N.J. - MARCH 24, 2015 - If a guest fills out a comment card on-site, emails a hotel's customer service address or even calls to share their frustration or praise about a recent visit, hotels know to read the card, answer the email or return the call. So why, in an age where everything is done online and the majority of consumers rely on travel and hotel reviews before booking a trip, do hoteliers still miss the opportunity of responding to online reviews?

Ideally, hoteliers would pre-empt a negative experience before it ever made it online, while a guest is on-site. Realistically, that is not possible to do each and every time, for each and every guest. When hoteliers are unable to provide the experience that meets or exceeds a guest's expectations, taking advantage of posting a management response is an important step in protecting a hotel's online reputation. This step, however, is something only a small amount of hoteliers do with an average of just 36% of hotels responding.

Hotel guests can post reviews of a stay to over 100 review sites, according to the 2014 Hotel Reputation Benchmark Study, however, hotel management is barely responding to two of the largest review sites online. 56% of hoteliers offer replies to TripAdvisor reviews and just 17% respond to those that review their experience on Expedia.

There is ample proof from a variety of studies that it is in a hotel's best interest for hoteliers to respond to the online reviews that their property receives. Often boosting a hotel's rank or rating, bookings or booking inquiries and even justifying an increase in room rates. 

Consider these guest review statistics:

A 2014 TripAdvisor study noted a connection between the rates of management responses with the average review rating a hotel receives. Properties responding to over 65% of the reviews they received saw an average review rating of 4.15.

Is this because guests magically experience only positive stays? Not according to the researchers at Boston University who deduced that perhaps the most impactful result of providing management response is that, "consumers with a poor experience become less likely to leave a negative review when hotels begin responding." 

This can be seen across the industry where 75% of reviews are four- and five-star reviews while less than 10% are one- and two-star reviews, according to the 2014 Hotel Reputation Benchmark Report. Do not be fooled though, while one-star reviews make up the lowest percentage of all reviews, the number of total reviews are increasing and the volume of both one-star and five-star reviews are seeing the biggest surge.

While hoteliers aren't responding to reviews, it seems that they recognize that they should be and are taking steps to begin penning replies. According to Ipsos and TripAdvisor's 2014 TripBarometer Report, six in 10 hoteliers say that investments in reputation management would increase in the next 12 months. The commitment to invest is a new way of thinking for hoteliers who may finally be ready to reap the benefits of replying to reviews by providing management responses. This is the second largest increase in investment priorities, only surpassed by small renovations - a list of property refreshes likely taken from what guests point out in negative reviews.

Hoteliers cannot afford to neglect review responses any longer, especially if their competitive set is making plans to reply to guest reviews. Hoteliers that understand the importance of management responses and how essential it is to invest in them, but may not have the time to take on the task can look to Lodging Interactive's CoMMingle Reputation Management services as a complete solution for handling review responses.

Lodging Interactive's reputation management service provides a personalized approach to management responses that hotels find to be invaluable. CoMMingle Reputation Management monitors, collects and researches reviews and provides suggested responses for approval by hotel management. Approved responses are then posted to the review sites as a feature of the service. Visit Lodging Interactive's website or call 877.291.4411 to learn more.

About Lodging Interactive

Lodging Interactive, headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, is a full-service digital marketing and social media engagement agency exclusively servicing the hospitality industry for more than a decade. The company provides a portfolio of effective hotel Internet marketing services to hundreds of hotels, resorts, ownership properties, spas and restaurants. Clients include branded hotels from nearly every major brand as well as prestigious, landmark independent hotels.

Through its CoMMingle Social Media Marketing Agency operating division, the company offers hospitality focused and fully managed outsourced hotel social media marketing customized solutions. In addition the company offers Social Voices, the hospitality industry's first 24/7/365 day a year Social Customer Care service (www.socialvoices.com).

The International Academy of Visual Arts, Interactive Media Awards, Web Marketing Association and Travel Weekly's Magellan Awards have recognized Lodging Interactive as an industry leader. Lodging Interactive is a proud supporter of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and is a Preferred Vendor for Best Western International. Lodging Interactive is a member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA). For more information please contact sales@lodginginteractive.com or 877-291-4411 ext. 701. The company's website is www.lodginginteractive.com.

Contact: Nicole McGovern

pressreleases@lodginginteractive.com / (877) 291-4411 ext. 715

Contact: DJ Vallauri

dj@lodginginteractive.com / (877) 291-4411 ext. 704

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